City Finally Rehabs Pace ‘Oval’ with New Turf in Sara D. Roosevelt Park
The Pace High School track and field – the southernmost point in Sara D. Roosevelt Park – finally received some attention from the city. Up until last month, this so-called “Oval” suffered from over-use and lack of maintenance, and was in dire need of repair. Now, at long last, the field sports that green sheen of fresh astroturf.
Nearly fifteen years after its installation just north of Canal Street, the turf field remains one of the most heavily used public spaces in the neighborhood. A backyard of sorts for the Chinatown community in and around Forsyth Street. It’s not out of the ordinary to see area youth practicing the traditional lion dances, Tai Chi clinics, swordplay, or even the random Quidditch match.
This incessant wear and tear, quite literally, had irreversibly damaged the field. For instance, broad sections of the turf were scraped down to the metal base. However, the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coaltion, helmed by Kathleen Webster, advocated for its replacement for years. Even senior students from the Pace High School had submitted a desperate petition to the city’s Parks Department in 2015 (it collected more than 500 signatures).
The field replacement finally came to pass earlier this month, without any official grandstanding by city officials.
“We, The SDR Coalition, requested this be the first priority for Sara D. Roosevelt Park last year, so we are very glad CB3 agreed and that Parks completed it in a timely manner,” Webster told us in an email. “It is a very active section of this park and it was unsafe for use by the community, especially the nearby schools.”
The synthetic-turf “Oval” field came about in 2004 as part of the Lower Manhattan Open Space Vision Plan, which created and/or enhanced more than 23 playgrounds and athletic fields throughout downtown.